The 2023 college football season is underway with the Big 12 Conference having some solid wins in Week 4 and disappointing losses.
So now it’s time for our Big 12 Power Rankings. Here’s a reminder on how I’ve done this for years: It’s about how your team looked and how it played, not always about if your team won or lost. And last week’s rankings have little impact on this week’s. That’s what makes this fun. These are also not predictions for the way the season will end, just Power Rankings based on the most recent performances.
So with that being said, here are our Week 5 Big 12 football Power Rankings.
1. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 1)
The Texas Longhorns have, once again, earned the top spot in the Big 12 Power Rankings this week after absolutely dominating Baylor 38-6 on Saturday night in Waco. Texas completely controlled the line of scrimmage and put this game away in the first half. UT is not just the most talented team in the Big 12, which they have been before, it appears like Steve Sarkisian is putting it together, and thus far, keeping his guys focused.
2. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 4)
Kansas is 4-0 for a second straight season and we aren’t even impressed by it. Credit Lance Leipold. Speaking of the line of scrimmage, Leipold has done a tremendous job recruiting in the trenches and that was on display on Saturday night in a win over BYU. And for those asking, KU jumped Oklahoma because beating BYU (who was No. 2 last week), is a better win than Cincinnati.
3. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 3)
Oklahoma is continuing to look like the real deal, especially on defense, under Brent Venables. This is not last year’s team. The defense is flying all over the field, led by the early frontrunner for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Danny Stutsman. He leads the Big 12 with 43 tackles this season on a defense that is giving up a Big 12-best 8.5 points per game. The biggest concern for OU at this point is the running game.
4. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 7)
The Kansas State Wildcats slide up after a dominant performance to open Big 12 play against UCF. DJ Giddens lit it up with over 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns, a pair of accomplishments that Deuce Vaughn never achieved during his time in Manhattan. K-State still has to clean up its secondary, but in a wide-open Big 12, this team should still very much be talked about having a chance to reach Arlington.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 5)
The Horned Frogs stay in the No. 5 slot after being one of just two teams to play a non-conference game this week and handling SMU with relative ease. Chandler Morris has quietly been a Top-3 Big 12 quarterback so far this season, while Emani Bailey has been RB1 in the league, leading the way in rushing yards per game, with 15 more rushing yards per game than anyone else in the conference.
6. BYU Cougars (Last Week: 2)
BYU went on the road to a tough environment for a second straight week and lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. The Cougars may not have the quarterback play they need to compete near the top of the league just yet, while the running game leaves even more to be desired. Defensively, BYU got cooked for 6.0 yards per carry in what could be a sign of things to come in league play.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 8)
WVU is the shock of the Big 12 thus far at 3-1 after beating Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Morgantown. The defense is leading the way and the offense is doing just enough to win games. But don’t overlook this: WVU has committed the fewest penalties in the Big 12 through four games. Credit to Neal Brown and his staff.
8. UCF Knights (Last Week: 6)
UCF has the offense to compete in the Big 12. QB Timmy McClain was flashy and fun on Saturday night in Manhattan, but at some point the defense is going to have to make a stop this season. That’s going to be tough. The Knights got gauged for 7.0 yards per carry against K-State in what will be a sign of things to come in conference play.
9. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 12)
Iowa State has tied the number of Big 12 wins they had last year (one). Rocco Becht had himself an efficient game and Jaylin Noel is looking like his WR1 after his 146 receiving yards against OSU. The Iowa State pass defense is ahead of the rush defense, but that unit will keep ISU in games this season, it’s just a matter of if they will win them.
10. Cincinnati Bearcats (Last Week: 10)
Cincinnati holds the No. 10 spot down for a second-straight week after their loss to Oklahoma. Cinci’s defense should be proud of its performance against the Sooners, but the offense just didn’t do itself any favors. The Bearcats had five total drives ending at the OU 28 or closer and only put a total of six points on the board. Brutal.
11. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 9)
Speaking of brutal, this is where we get into that section of the power rankings. Texas Tech was a trendy pick to reach the Big 12 title game, but now they just need to try and get a second win of the season before the calendar flips to October. Tyler Shough is injured, again. The offense was already inconsistent to start the defense. And the defense can’t stop the run.
12. Houston Cougars (Last Week: 14)
Houston gets to move up two spots, but that’s mostly because of what happened with the two teams below them. Houston beat Sam Houston. Congrats. They covered. Congrats. It was a “feel good” game that the Cougars really needed. But now it’s back to big-boy football this weekend.
13. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 13)
Oklahoma State finally picked a quarterback. Alan Bowman wasn’t great, but he wasn’t the reason they lost the game to Iowa State in Ames. Other than Ollie Gordon, there isn’t much to love about what OSU is bringing to the table right now. It could be a long season in Stillwater.
14. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 11)
And last up, speaking of long seasons, that’s what Baylor fans should be prepared for. Baylor has looked awful this season, other than a couple of quarters against Utah in Week 2. Baylor was not close to being on the level of Texas on Saturday. Maybe that will be a common theme for many of UT’s opponents this season, but stack it up with the Texas State and LIU performance, and it’s officially ugly in Waco.